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11-29 snowflake festival

The 35th annual Snowflake Festival parade will travel down Main Street in Klamath Falls starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5.

The holidays are quickly on their way, and Klamath Falls is looking forward to its big event of the season: the 35th Annual Klamath Snowflake Festival.

The Snowflake Festival events will be taking place from Saturday through Dec. 15, so everyone has plenty of time to experience everything it has to offer. But Snowflake Festival coordinators say it’s especially important not to miss the Snowflake Festival Parade at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5.

“I think the community comes together,” Kathryn Meadows, Klamath Snowflake Festival’s secretary and treasurer, said about the parade. “Being such a small town, you see everyone you know. It’s just a good community function.”

Meadows said that she is in charge of the coloring contest, where kids have the chance to show off their creative chops and win tickets to a show at the Ross Ragland Theater. If you want another chance to compete for prizes, you can grab your gumdrops and icing and enter the gingerbread house competition. Rules for both of these contests can be found on the Klamath Snowflake Festival Facebook page.

What’s Christmas without Santa Claus? Kids get the chance to hang out with Santa throughout the Snowflake Festival, starting on Saturday, Nov. 30, when he’ll arrive on his sleigh at 9 a.m. at Coastal Farm & Ranch, 1776 Avalon St.

Don Ambers is the Snowflake Festival’s chief operations officer who has doubled as Santa Claus – when the real one has to go back to the North Pole, of course – at the Snowflake Festival for 12 years. He said that the experience has been so important, and he loves to see how excited the kids get to see their favorite bearded gift-giver.

“Kids are totally different once they see Santa Claus,” Ambers said. “It’s a total change.”

He said that he does a lot of volunteering work in the community, but he always looks forward to being Santa.

“There’s no explanation to what it’s like to be Santa Claus,” Ambers said. “It’s the greatest thing in my life.”

There’s no telling whether Santa will jump in the water at the Santa Freeze, which will be at the Ella Redkey Pool from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6. Despite the name, the pool will be heated at its usual 86 degrees, so people can find respite from the cold December weather.

For people who want a glimpse of what the fauna is like on the North Pole, there will be a chance to see Santa’s reindeer in real life on Dec. 11, from 2-6 p.m., where they’ll be setting up shop at Coastal.

There’s plenty more fun to be had at the Snowflake Festival, but coordinators say that the real value of the event is how it brings Klamath Falls together, inspiring children with the magic of the holiday season.

“It’s an emotional event for the kids in Klamath Falls,” Ambers said. “It brings them into the light of Christmas.”

More details about the Klamath Snowflake Festival and the full event schedule can be found on their Facebook page or at their website, klamathsnowflake.com.